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Volume 2, Number 33 September 22 - 28, 2002 Quezon City, Philippines
Clergymen Express Support for Prof. Sison
By the Committee to Defend Filipino Progressives Abroad (DEFEND)
a press conference on the plight of Prof. Jose Maria Sison, two Dutch clergymen,
Archbishop Joris Vercammen of the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht and Dominee
Hans Visser of Paulus Kerk of Rotterdam, expressed their dismay and disapproval
of the actions taken by the Dutch government to brand Prof. Sison as a terrorist
and cut off the social benefits due him as a political refugee.
Visser said that he had consistently supported Prof. Sison’s long-running
fight for asylum and residence in the Netherlands.
He has supported the campaign launched by sympathizers, friends and
concerned citizens to press the Dutch government to grant Prof. Sison’s asylum
application in the face of pressure exerted by the US and Philippine governments
to reject such application.
Visser said that he found it ridiculous for the Dutch government to put Prof.
Sison in the same league as Osama bin Laden.
Vercammen for his part expressed concern that the actions of the US and Dutch
governments to brand the CPP, NPA and Prof. Sison as “terrorists” would have
dire implications on the peace negotiations between the Manila government and
the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
He read portions of a letter sent to him by Supreme Bishop Tomas A.
Millamena of the Philippine Independent Church criticizing Philippine President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for jumping on the bandwagon of the US’s so-called
“war against terrorism”, suspending
the peace negotiations and launching an all-out war against the forces of the
Vercammen said that the real problem in the Philippines is the poverty that he
saw for himself during his recent visit to the Philippines.
He said that the peace negotiations between the Manila government and the
NDFP must be resumed and must tackle the problem of poverty.
the same press conference, Prof. Sison recalled that as soon as he learned that
thousands of civilians were killed in the September 11 attacks, he expressed
sorrow and sympathy to the families, friends and the entire American people and
condemned the acts of terrorism. But
he also said that the American people must reflect on why the US government, its
armed forces and big business firms arouse so much hatred in the world.
pointed to the fact that the US was responsible for the killing of 1.4 million
Filipinos from the start of the Filipino-American war in 1899 to the end of the
so-called pacification campaigns in 1914. It
was also the US who instigated Marcos to declare martial law in the Philippines
and supported his dictatorial regime that victimized tens of thousands of
Filipinos who were jailed, tortured, disappeared and summarily executed.
The terrorism of Al Qaeda pales in comparison to these crimes, he said.
said that by following the baton of the US in designating the CPP and NPA as
“terrorists” and taking punitive actions against suspected members of the
said organizations, the Dutch government was running counter to its own
commitment to facilitate the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and to the 1997 and
1999 resolutions of the Europarliament which endorse and support these
Visser said that he supports Prof. Sison’s fight for his basic right to life.
He said: “It is a stupid decision to deprive Prof. Sison of his basic
needs.” He said that he would
continue to support Prof. Sison’s asylum case and the resumption of the peace
Vercammen said that if the Dutch government is aware of the importance of the
peace negotiations, then the Dutch government must take a different position and
not always follow what the US government wants because the US has its own agenda
and its own interests.
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September 18, 2002 Bulatlat.com